Sunday, July 2, 2017

Is It Possible to Have Too Many Ripe Tomatoes?


Yes.  Too many ripe homegrown tomatoes on my kitchen counter can cause guilt, piggishness and extra work in general.  I can’t eat them all immediately.  Well, I could, but why should I be ruled by a tomato?

I could cook them up in soups, stir-fries, sauces and casseroles or make lots of salads.  I could haul out my Tomato Pie recipe. I could try canning them, but I have never canned anything.  I could experiment with drying them in the oven for use later.  I really should try that, but that seems too much like work.

Experts say, “Don’t refrigerate tomatoes because it affects their taste.”  Before I heard this piece of advice, I always kept my tomatoes cold.  I can’t remember if the taste was affected, but refrigeration did help prevent spoilage.  Now I feel guilty if I put them
in the fridge.  But will I feel more guilty if I leave them on the counter and they start to rot?

I could give them to friends and neighbors, but then what if I decide that I want to make Gazpacho or four Tomato Pies?  Oh, the worry!

While I was pondering this problem last night, I decided to make Angel Hair Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil for dinner.  That took care of some of the tomato glut, plus it tasted good enough that I might make it again tonight.  

I am lucky in one respect: my current tomato overflow is limited to the cherry tomatoes grown on my deck.
Angel Hair Pasta with Tomatoes and Basil – serves 4 (adapted from “Help! My Apartment Has a Dining Room”)  
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 ounces fresh goat cheese, cut into thin slices, or 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half, or two large tomatoes, chopped
16 ounces dried angel hair pasta or vermicelli 
Half-fill a large pot with water, cover and begin heating over high heat. 
While waiting for the water to heat, make the sauce.  In a large serving bowl combine the basil, garlic, cheese, olive oil, salt, black pepper and tomatoes.  Stir thoroughly. 
When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and set the timer for the time noted on the package (probably about 6 minutes).  Stir occasionally to keep the noodles from sticking together.  When the timer rings, taste a noodle to make sure it is done. If it’s not, cook for another minute. 
Drain the noodles in a colander in the sink.  Transfer them to the serving bowl while they are still hot, toss them with the sauce and serve immediately.  This dish is also good at room temperature.
                              For more recipes, order "Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!"